Dream House Directed by: Jim Sheridan Cast: Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts Running Time: 1 hr 32 mins Rating: PG-13 Release Date: September 30, 2011
PLOT: Soon after moving into their perfect house, a family learns of a brutal crime committed against people who used to live there.
WHO'S IT FOR? Hmmm... that's a really good question. I think there could be someone out there that would enjoy this psychological thriller, but it's not horror fans, or fans of good movies.
EXPECTATIONS: They were low, and I'll get to that in my review.
Dream House attempts to answer a question no one was asking. How long can a twist ending last? Most films save a twist ending until, well, the end. Dream House decides to embark on a different path. Unfortunately the result feels like a film that had 46 minutes of stuff to say. Please keep in mind they give us this big "twist" at the 45-minute mark.
Let's back up for a moment. If I was to say Dream House, you would probably say, "What's that?" There hasn't been much marketing, barely any press, and the advanced screening was Thursday at 10 p.m. But then again, maybe some of you said this, "Dream House, why that's the movie starring the man from James Bond, or better yet, Layer Cake. Plus, it's starring Academy Award Winner Rachel Weisz (Constant Gardener), and Naomi Watts, the woman from that scary movie The Ring. On top of that, it's got Jim Sheridan. Yes, THE Jim Sheridan. He's the who made My Left Foot and one of Jeff Bayer's favorite movies ever, In America." First of all, I'm very impressed that you would say all of that. You must be a true movie fan. Heck, you even forgot to mention the tabloid angle of this film which is that Craig and Weisz totally hooked up and are now married. So why on earth is this film just being tossed out there with little fan fare? Because it's not good. Yes, in this case, it's that simple.
Will Atenton (Craig) is a man who finally retired as an editor to write a novel. He, his wife Libby, and his two daughters move out to the suburbs to have a perfect life. That's what most of the beginning of the film beats into our heads, everything is perfect. Soon we come to realize that a man named Peter Ward and his family used to live in the house, and brutal crimes were committed there. Does that mean scary ghosts are haunting the children? Evil spirits around every turn? Nope. A couple of cute jolts are all we get in the beginning.
I won't spoil the big reveal at the 45-minute mark, though any preview for Dream House will do it for you. That's another reason why the film is a failure. We do learn that Peter Ward is out and about, which doesn't make much sense since people call Peter a killer to his face.
After the reveal, Dream House is just a weird waste of time. It's as lifeless as the ghosts in this film. I don't blame the actors, who don't seem to be mailing it in at all. I haven't read up on the behind-the-scenes thoughts of anyone on this film. I like to believe Sheridan was trying something different here (psychological drama), and then the studio saw it and said, "No, we want a horror film." But we don't get a horror film with Dream House. We don't get much of anything. This film is a waste of time for Craig, Weisz, Watts and most importantly, the audience.
FINAL SCORE: 3/10